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NYPD officer, Army reservist arrested for being Chinese spy, say charges

NYPD patrol car (Pete Stewart/WikiCommons)
September 22, 2020

A U.S. Army reservist, who is also an officer in New York City Police Department (NYPD), was arrested and charged Monday with allegedly spying on behalf of China since at least 2014.

Baimadajie Angwang, 33, who is an officer for the NYPD’s 111th Precinct, was charged by the U.S. Department of Justice on Monday with spying on New York City’s Tibetan community on behalf of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Angwang is also charged with making false statements, committing wire fraud, and obstructing an official investigation.

As part of his Army service, Angwang maintained a “SECRET”-level security clearance. According to the charging documents, Angwang faces the false statements charge for allegedly lying on a military security clearance form, which specifically asked if he had contacts with a foreign government or its consulate and if he had close and continuing contacts with foreign nationals.

Angwang faces the wire fraud charge for allegedly devising a scheme to defraud the Department of Defense. He was accused of acting to “obtain money and property from the U.S. government by means of one or more materially false and fraudulent pretenses.”

Acting U.S. Attorney DuCharm, announcing the charges on Monday, said, “The defendant allegedly violated his sworn oath to serve the New York City community and defend the Constitution against all enemies by reporting to PRC government officials about the activities of Chinese citizens in the New York area and developing intelligence sources within the Tibetan community in the United States.”

According to the charging documents, Angwang is an ethnic Tibetan, a native of the People’s Republic of China, and a naturalized U.S. citizen. His father is retired from the Chinese military, and his brother actively serves the Chinese military as a reservist. His parents still reside in China, where they are active members of the Chinese Communist Party.

As early as August of 2014, Angwang began making calls and trading texts with PRC officials and traded 53 total communications with PRC officials over a three-year period from August of 2014 to August of 2017. Between June of 2018 and March of 2020, Angwang made another 55 calls and texts with PRC officials.

In one intercepted phone call between Angwang and a PRC official, Angwang also allegedly referred to himself as a PRC asset. He told that PRC official they should be happy “because you have extended your reach into the police department.” Angwang also allegedly offered non-public knowledge about the internal operations at the NYPD.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers also warned, “State and local officials should be aware that they are not immune to the threat of Chinese espionage. According to the allegations, the Chinese government recruited and directed a U.S. citizen and member of our nation’s largest law enforcement department to further its intelligence gathering and repression of Chinese abroad.”

The NYPD assisted the FBI in their investigation against Angwang.

On Monday, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said, “As alleged in this federal complaint, Baimadajie Angwang violated every oath he took in this country. One to the United States, another to the U.S. Army, and a third to this Police Department. From the earliest stages of this investigation, the NYPD’s Intelligence and Internal Affairs bureaus worked closely with the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division to make sure this individual would be brought to justice.”